Backlash over London Uber ban
The mayor of London is at the centre of a public backlash after transport authorities banned Uber from operating in the city.
More than 335,000 people signed a petition within hours of the announcement yesterday, calling on Sadiq Khan to overturn a decision to strip the world’s biggest ride-hailing app of its licence.
Business leaders reacted by saying London was being run by ‘‘Luddites’’. Transport for London (TfL), which is chaired by Khan, was accused of ‘‘cronyism’’ by bowing to pressure from trade unions and black cab drivers who have waged a campaign against Uber for years.
The decision has also placed the future of the company’s tens of thousands of drivers in London under threat.
TfL said Uber, which is used by 3.5 million people in London – more than any other European city – was no longer a ‘‘fit and proper’’ operator. It accused the company of failing to report serious criminal offences, check drivers’ criminal records or ensure drivers were medically fit.
Last month the Metropolitan Police suggested that the company was putting its reputation before public safety by allowing a driver to continue working despite facing a sexual assault allegation.
Uber said it was ‘‘astounded’’ by the ruling, which is due to come into force at the end of next week, and vowed to lodge an appeal that will be heard by Westminster magistrates’ court within 21 days, giving the company a stay of execution. Any refusal to reinstate its licence will prompt an appeal to a senior court, raising the prospect of a lengthy legal battle.